Question about 2001 Chrysler Sebring

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Smoke I have a 2001Sbbring LXI it burns and etreme amout of oil and as the car is running it ssmoking under the hood and under the car like its coming out of the tail pipe. Can you tell me does this sound like I have a leak or is the oil pump is gone.

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  • dover pros Sep 11, 2008

    WildBill - I have a 2002 - similar conditions - different data. Several months ago, I had to replace the water pump after noticing the engine getting hot. Thankfully, it never overheated, but got hot enough to make me check everything out (found the coffee colored oil!) Did the new timing chain, sprockets etc. - did not replace the tensioner (purged the oil, reset it, and let it extend to the new chain size). Flushed through an oil change with 5W-30 to hopefully clear some of the gunk out of the tiny passages, and after 100 mi.s replaced the oil again with thin 5W-30.

    The engine runs great! Yet, I have noticed oil consumption as well - white puffs of smoke out the tail pipe - but only after the car is hot, then comes to a traffic light to slow down / stop, and when I hit the gas, this is when I get the puffs of smoke.

    Very intermittent puffs - but after 4K mi.s I have burned over a quart of oil. Now, my thoughts turn to the warnings about putting synthetic oil in high-mileage engines, how this can clear out all of the nice seal/gunk around the valve stems and cause blow-by, and major oil burning. I have to wonder if I'm doing the same thing here - using oil too thin for a 140K mi. engine. Or is this probem deeper than that?

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Hi snhinehunny1

I have read both of your problem posts and it sounds like your Sebring needs some TLC attention. In this response we'll only address the smoke and missing issues, as there is probably some connections with the other symptoms you described.

Smoke and oil consumption / oil loss are definitely related, but you need to know the difference between oil consumption, which is the burning of oil that mixes in with the air/fuel mixture, and oil loss. If your exhaust system is in good condition (no exhaust leaks at the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, muffler and tailpipe, then consumed oil would only cause smoking from the tailpipe. This is caused by worn or defective piston oil control rings and/or worn valve guide seals, or possibly a leaking head gasket, and this condition can contribute to engine misses, as the cylinders with oil control problems receive an air/fuel mixture ratio that is thrown off by the introduction of the oil. The smoking due to consumed oil will only show up under the hood in the case of an exhaust leak.

Oil loss is the leaking of oil to the outside from around gaskets and seals, and underhood smoking is most likely due to oil escaping from around the valve covers. This oil then drips onto the hot exhaust manifold where it is burned and smokes. This type of smoking is not apparent until the engine warms up, but it is accompanied by a strong burnt oil smell AND the tale-tell oil spot on the ground under where the car is parked, and can cause engine misses by oiling spark plugs and wires to the point of breakdown.

A third possible source of the smoke is caused by compression blow-by, and blow-by is caused by weak, worn, or broken piston compression rings. When the cylinder is fired, part of the power stroke compressed gas escapes past the rings into the sealed crankcase. Modern engines are designed to operate with slight negative pressure in the crankcase, and this is done through the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve. This negative pressure helps keep crankcase gases controlled within the crankcase, but if an engine is blowing-by more gas than the PCV can evacuate, than the crankcase becomes pressurized, leading to oil being forced out around gasket and seals, and (possibly) oil being drawn into the intake through the PCV system, and this will also cause underhood smoke. This is usually seen in well-worn high mileage engines, and in engines that have experienced a severe overheating episode---the excessively high temperatures causes the piston rings to lose their temper (springiness --- NOT ANGER MANAGEMENT! Ha!) and consequently, their ability to form an effective seal against the cylinder wall.

In your case, I suspect that you may very well have, to some degree, all of the above conditions. A good technician / diagnostician can give you a more accurate evakuation by doing such things as a compression check and reading the spark plugs (for oil coating / caking), evaluate engine blow-by by feeling over the oil filler looking for slight suction or whether there is pressure there, and by visually inspecting around gaskets and seals for oil leaks.

The oil pump would not be involved in any of the above.

I hope this helps you figure out what the problems are, but please don't hesitate to ask if you have questions or to post further comments on this problem. And PLEASE be so kind as to rate my advice --- that is my only compensation for serving you! I will address your starting problem under that posting.

Best of luck and thank you!
-WildBill

Posted on Jun 24, 2008

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It sounds like you have an oil leak could be as simple as tightening the oil filter or you may have done a seal or a gasket
try degreasing the engine and look for a fresh leak or trail and go from there

Posted on Jun 24, 2008

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